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We got any Bowlers up in here?


Wulaw Horn
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Just bought a ball and trying to throw a hook like a real bowler, after spending the first 44 years of my life throwing a straight house ball. 
Anyone making this transition before?  I generally roll a 130-170 with the occasional 200 and the occasional 110 or some such. 
clients have a standing Wednesday bowling game that they have bugged me to do with them, and after they got serious they have shamed me into it. 
Wondering if any on here are serious, bowl in a league, know what they are doing, etc.

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Posted (edited)

Bowling is a blast.  I went a few months ago on a day that I had a backache, which I rarely have.  I bowled a 205 which broke my record of an even 200 set approximately 33 years ago.  I have no rhyme or reason as to why that happened, but it did.  The next game I rolled a 165...oh, and bowling alleys have the best food.  It's science.

Edited by Hate
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Just now, Rimbo said:

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Funny enough I was. Maxed out at a 1.3 handicap entering my freshman year at UT. I was talking about this yesterday with the guy I was bowling with (we also golf occasionally). Said I was  climbing down the ladder to less athletic sports. We decided the bottom rung had to be darts. 

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4 minutes ago, Hate said:

Bowling is a blast.  I went a few months ago on a day that I had a backache, which I rarely have,  I bowled a 205 which broke my record of an even 200 set approximately 33 years ago.  I have no rhyme or reason as to why that happened, but it did.  The next game I rolled a 165t...oh, and bowling alleys have the best food.  It's science.

You have your own ball?  Throw a hook, or nah?  Just wondering what I have in store for me and if it will be a bitch to unlearn muscle memory or if it will be easy. 

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Nope.  I just grab a 14 lb ball with extra large holes...TWSS.  I try to hit straight off the lead pin.  I've never tried to hook it as that was too much effort for a game that is meant to be just a fun thing to do while drinking...like cornhole or washers. (although I am a damn good cornhole player...no homo).

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i rolled in a league a few years with some friends.

There is now so much science into the ball versus the old days of the "Black Beauty."

Hopefully, the person who drilled your ball asked you a lot of questions and didn't just "size you."

Take a quick lesson from the pro at your alley.

https://www.pattersonbowl.com/how-to-drill-bowling-balls-for-maximum-hook/

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The easiest way to throw a hook is to release the ball like you are going to shake hands bringing your hand up the back side of the ball if that makes sense.  It doesn't put a lot of stress on your wrist or elbow the way some crankers do.

Have bowled leagues for about 10 years...could be pretty good if I worked at it, but we'd rather drink batmen at Pluckers and sober up to drive home while bowling.  Haven't been to a bowling alley except on league night in several years.  Highest league average was around 206 but usually around 198-200.  Get a team of guys that you enjoy being around and don't give a shit about the rest makes for a fun evening away from the wife.

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Catpfish said:

could be pretty good if I worked at it, but we'd rather drink batmen at Pluckers and sober up to drive home while bowling.  Haven't been to a bowling alley except on league night in several years.  Highest league average was around 206 but usually around 198-200.

Yeah, that’s already pretty good. 

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Wulaw, are you in Houston?  For some reason that pops in my head.  If in Austin, I would go to the pro shop at Highland Lanes for any advice.  It's owned by Wes Malott but he has moved from Pflugerville to somewhere in the Midwest (maybe Indiana?).  The guy that runs it now, Gary, is a great guy and very knowledgeable.

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Catpfish said:

Highest league average was around 206 but usually around 198-200.

The only real Surly dude on this thread. The rest of y’all have been hacked. 

Edited by ImissWallyPryor
Or this place is full of stone cold hustlers.
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5 hours ago, TonyTexas said:

I’m sure YouTube has hundreds of how-to videos on all aspects of bowling. 

Wasn’t really looking for how to’s, more just a general sense on if anyone around here is into it and quasi serious, and what that looks like, and their bowling journeys/stories/etc. 

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High game of 233 

Used to be in leagues when I was younger(18-24 or so) and even bowled at two state tournaments.....straight ball only like a BOSS. 

Now I only bowl like once every 5 years and suck so I just see how fast I can throw the ball.  

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How serious do you want to be?  We have guys in our league show up with $1,000 in equipment every night, pretty much like a set of golf clubs.  Different balls with different covers drilled differently for different reactions to match the lanes on any given night.  I only use 2 balls...a hooking ball (I try and adjust my speed and line to match conditions and sometimes it actually works) and a plastic ball for spares on the right side (10 pin, etc).  You can get as crazy with it as you want.

I've bowled state and nationals, they are fun and you don't have to be very good to enjoy the time.  They are all flighted just like golf club championships with fewer flights (usually only 2 or 3).  We were missing a bowler so we had a professional bowler from the women's tour sign on to finish out our fivesome.  Just about every ball was within a quarter of inch the whole way down the lane.  It was something to see up close.  I think she bowled around a 680 and was five months pregnant to boot.

 

 

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Career best is 279.  Started with 10 straight strikes and threw the 11th in the ditch.  Average about 165-70.  Play in a 9 pin-no tap league every winter.  Have thrown a couple 300s in that.  I've got a hook ball and a straight ball for the 10 pin spare pickup.  Once threw 15 straight strikes in the middle of two games.  

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Best series is around a 760 and I have bowled a 300 although it was early in my "career."  Did not even break 600 that night as I didn't really care what happened in the third game.  Have made it to tenth about 5 other times but no luck.

All that to say, that there are days I end up in without a decent look no matter what I try and I'm still fully capable of throwing a 470 series once I get pissed.  The other thing that really gets me is when the lanes don't run the AC enough and there is no slide whatsoever on the approach.  That will really throw your timing and balance off in a hurry.

One of the guys on my team has a brother that was averaging about 235 in Dallas and got bored throwing right handed.  Switched to left for a couple of season was averaging around 205 by the time he switched back to right.  I'd be lucky to get a shot off without busting my ass.

 

 

 

 

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Posted (edited)

Take a football and try to throw a spiral underhanded.  Keep your right elbow in just like when swinging a golf club.  Make sure your ball is drilled with a fingertip grip.  If you're in Austin, go see the guys at Highland or Westgate.  I booked 225 last season.  Been bowling for 45 years.  Seriously considering the senior tour next year.

Edit: What ball did you get?

Edited by Pogo
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33 minutes ago, Catpfish said:

The other thing that really gets me is when the lanes don't run the AC enough and there is no slide whatsoever on the approach.  That will really throw your timing and balance off in a hurry.

 

 

 

 

I fuckin hate tacky approaches!  Good way to screw up knees and wrists (when you fall on your face).

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42 minutes ago, Pogo said:

Take a football and try to throw a spiral underhanded.  Keep your right elbow in just like when swinging a golf club.  Make sure your ball is drilled with a fingertip grip.  If you're in Austin, go see the guys at Highland or Westgate.  I booked 225 last season.  Been bowling for 45 years.  Seriously considering the senior tour next year.

Edit: What ball did you get?

Hammer?  It's blue.  that was the only 15 pound ball they had.  He was like- this is a little more expensive but it's the only one with that weight.

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OK- so what's the deal with pro's and their scores. I would think that you would pretty much figure those guys would roll close to 300 every time, but I see Youtube vids like the one of Pete Weber and he's winning a major tournament at 215.  My asshole realtor buddy rolled a 660 series the other day when I was there, and he's an unathletic goof that's been doing this seriously for about a year.  Clearly, Pete Weber is way the fuck better. I can't believe he's anything but a clutch machine- so- why is professional bowling so much harder than regular bowling?  The lanes are all the same size and specs- what makes those scores be so relatively low, compared to fucking around at the Friday night rock and bowl?

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That's a good enough ball. As long as it's a fingertip drill, you should be able to curve it.

As for scores, the pros don't bowl on the same conditions as leagues do.  The oil is applied to the lane more evenly, making it much harder to throw strikes.  Me shooting 225 in league and a pro winning a tournament with a 225 is the same difference as a local scratch golfer shooting 65 at a muni vs a pro shooting 65 at Augusta.  The difference is you can see the obstacles in golf, but you can't in bowling.

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2 other things @Wulaw Horn

Who did you buy a ball from that only had 1 15lb ball?  And good shop should have more 15s in stock than any other weight.

Also, fall leagues are forming now.  You could probably find a short season league the runs through December at your local center.

 

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1 hour ago, Pogo said:

That's a good enough ball. As long as it's a fingertip drill, you should be able to curve it.

As for scores, the pros don't bowl on the same conditions as leagues do.  The oil is applied to the lane more evenly, making it much harder to throw strikes.  Me shooting 225 in league and a pro winning a tournament with a 225 is the same difference as a local scratch golfer shooting 65 at a muni vs a pro shooting 65 at Augusta.  The difference is you can see the obstacles in golf, but you can't in bowling.

I figured that, I’m just ignorant on what the obstacles actually are. 

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2 minutes ago, Wulaw Horn said:

I figured that, I’m just ignorant on what the obstacles actually are. 

If you want me to nerd out get full on technical with the explanation, I'm happy to oblige.

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29 minutes ago, Pogo said:

2 other things @Wulaw Horn

Who did you buy a ball from that only had 1 15lb ball?  And good shop should have more 15s in stock than any other weight.

Also, fall leagues are forming now.  You could probably find a short season league the runs through December at your local center.

 

I bowl with some agents. That's where we were at.  After I rolled a couple 165 plusses they were exasperated and were like- you are too good to be doing this- go get a real set up and that was easy.  Didn't care enough to get too involved any other way.  

If I start rolling 600 series I'm sure they will make me be on their league team. I'm not interested in spending a lot of time non business wise with 3 little kids at home.  We go bowling as a family 1 or 2 times a year.  

24 minutes ago, Pogo said:

If you want me to nerd out get full on technical with the explanation, I'm happy to oblige.

I'd love to hear the full explanation if you want to give it.  I like hearing how things work..

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Alright, here we go.  You see people step across the foul line and immediately slip and fall on their ass, right?  That's because of the oil applied to the lane to protect the surface.  How and how much oil is applied is what determines the playing conditions.  These are called oil patterns.  Between the 2-D lane surface and the volume of oil and any one spot, you can envision a 3-D image of the conditions.  In a typical league oil pattern that every center puts out every day, you have very little oil applied near the gutters.  This makes the ball hook back if you throw it out there and increases your chances of a strike.  Conversely, there is a high volume of oil applied in the middle of the lane.  So if you miss your target left, your ball is going to skid more, hook less, and increase your chances of a strike.  You can see how this gives you a greater room for error and makes it easier to throw strikes.  In professional conditions (often referred to a sport conditions), the oil is spread out more evenly, giving you less room to miss right and get the ball back as well as less room to miss left and have the ball hold and not hook.

Let's take a visual look at this.  The "Chris Paul" is what a typical "house" oil pattern looks like.  This one is 42 ft in length.  You can see at the bottom that the outside zone ratio is 8.46:1. That's the ratio of oil in the middle of the lane to the outside of the lane.  Any ratio greater than 8:1 is considered pretty easy.  They used this in the Chris Paul Celebrity Invitational.  The "Scorpion" is the same 42 ft length, but you can see the difference.  The ratio there is 2:1, and this is something used in an actual PBA tournament. 

The majority of house oil patterns will be 40-44 ft in length.  Sport conditions can be anywhere from 32-52 ft. The length of the pattern has a major effect on where you have to play in order to throw strikes.  For example, look a the 32-ft "Wolf" pattern.  You're going to have to play straighter and flirt with the gutter if you want to strike because the oil is so flat across the rest of the lane.

Next up, I'll discuss bowling balls and what they do to these oil patterns.

 

house.jpg

sport.jpg

wolf.jpg

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Posted (edited)

I bowled when I was in my teens, in a couple of leagues, sporadically in my college years. I was really interested in getting back into it a few years ago when a new bowling venue opened up. But my first and only visit there was just too depressing. I wanted to buy a new ball and shoes, but they didn't even have a pro shop. I watched bowlers for a good while and couldn't find a single one that had any clue about how to bowl. It was 100 percent goofing off. I asked a clerk about leagues, they said they didn't have them, but maybe would get around to it someday. Then I found the back room with more lanes where a bunch of drunk idiots were bowling in the dark with Madonna dance music blasting. Fuck all that shit.

If there were some real lanes closer by I'd think about it again. But it ain't want the used to be, with the crash of strikes all around with the wafting aroma of greasy fries and melty cheeseburgers and the ringing of the Elton John pinball machine and clacking pool balls in the background.

Edited by DougO
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Comments based on many years of bowling with my experiences and tips provided to me by a couple of really good bowlers I met over the years.  Hope you find them helpful or at least something to think about.


16# ball.  It’s actually easier to roll the heavy ball because you’re less tempted to overthrow it.  Learning to roll the ball produces rotation which is the power creating pin count.  Overthrown balls actually skid and have a tendency to deflect off of pins rather than driving thru them.

Drill for fingertips with inserts.  Ball rotation is achieved at release with the fingertips more naturally than artificially cranking at the wrist.  Much less strain, too.

image.thumb.jpeg.ed99729de1f5591a056d5e8acbca9f96.jpeg
 

Wear a comfortable wrist brace.  Helps develop a consistent release so you can refine your stroke, learn to control the ball better, and deliver it to the desired target.  Learn to use the dots and arrows to guide you in delivering that consistent shot to the various targets.

image.thumb.jpeg.af098ca3aa0bb0e854e1195e4fec29e7.jpeg
An optional tacky leather glove worn under the wrist brace (no thumb, middle, or ring fingers) provides a bit more confidence in your grip so you can resist the natural urge to squeeze the fingertips too tightly.

Before (or after) every session, wipe the ball down with alcohol to remove oil buildup on your ball’s track.  The oil pattern on the lanes will probably be different the next time you bowl, so start with a clean ball so you can figure it out sooner.

Good luck and HAVE FUN!

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I have the inserts that look just like that. It feels so weird after sticking the fingers all the way in the hole my entire life to stop at the fingertips. 
I go for the maiden voyage here today in about an hour and a half. Was going to get some instruction first but having to take care of an issue with my wife’s truck (the issue is she drove it into a curb at about 40 mph) now instead. I assume my score today will be worse than my score last week as it will be the first time doing something different. My hope is for 20 or so strikes (we usually bowl 4 games) and figure there will be a lot of open frames. 
Roll a straight ball for spares down the right hand lane?  

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All solid advice from Virginia.  Fingertip is a must.  Power and rotation come from the fingers after the thumb has exited the ball.  One counterpoint is that the vast majority of high-level bowlers roll 15lb equipment.  The stats have shown a very minimal loss in power is offset by a significant reduction in wear and tear on the bowler during tournaments that can last 20-40 games.

Wulaw, before your hand was basically on top of the ball as you let it go.  With this new grip, try to keep your wrist straight and your hand behind the ball as you let it go.  It will take some getting used to.  Definitely go straighter at spares.

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15 minutes ago, DougO said:

I always wanted to try the fingertip drill and intended to go that route when I started thinking about it again, but these assholes here don't even do that stuff. 

Damn! Where are you?  Some bowling alley nearby should have a pro shop in it.

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3 minutes ago, Pogo said:

Damn! Where are you?  Some bowling alley nearby should have a pro shop in it.

I would probably have to go to Georgetown, or maybe Killeen if that one is still in business. I might try it sometime if I had someone else around that was interested.

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